You Are Your Story - How Mrs. Worms Went To Heaven

     "How come you always get to be God?" I asked.
    "Because I'm older," Raymond said.  Raymond's my brother.
    "Why's that mean you get to be God?" I asked.  
    "Because God is older," he explained.  "God is older than anybody."
    "I think we should take turns," I said.  "Sometimes I should get to be God."
    "Look here, Jimmy," he answered.  "St. Peter was important too.  He's the one who got to tell them which door to go through."  He always calls me "Jimmy" rather than "Jim" when he wants to make me feel small.
    "But God got to decide which way they went," I said.  
    "If you want to play, you got to be St. Peter," he said.  I knew if I argued any more he wouldn't play the game at all.  
    "All right," I agreed.  I'm St. Peter and you are God."
    "Here comes the first one," he said.  "You be him.  He just got killed in a car wreck.  There is blood and guts all over the place.  You got decapitated."
    "I got what?"
    "De...cap...i...tated.  That means you got your head cut off.  I learned it on the news last night."
    "Its gross," I said.  I don't want to be anyone who got de...capli..sated."
    "Decapitated, dummy.  You're a spirit now, so it doesn't make any difference."
    "Still, its gross.  I won't be somebody who got de..., who got his head cut off."
    "All right.  Pretend you got squished instead."
    "O.K.  Here I am coming before God.  Pretend I was bad."
    "O.K."
    Then Raymond spoke in his real deep God voice. "Welcome.  What is your name?"
    "Mr. Jones."
    "Were you good or were you bad, Mr. Jones?"
    "I was bad," I admitted.  "I murdered people and robbed, and beat people up.  In fact I was driving off in a stolen car when I got in the accident and got killed."  
    "O.k." said God.  "You go with St. Peter there and he will show you which door you go through."
    So then I became St Peter and we had to just settle with a pretend Mr. Jones because Raymond didn't want to stop being God even for a minute.
    "Come right this way, Mr. Jones,"  I said.
    Of course Mr. Jones wanted to know where he was going.
    "You'll find out," I said.  
    "Send him through the silver door," God said.
    "I know that," I answered.  I mean it was obvious.  In our game the silver door led to a deep shaft that led straight to hell.  It was like the garbage chute in my grandmother's apartment house. The other door was golden and it went to heaven.  "Of course someone who is a murderer and a robber has to go through the silver door," I said.
    "Still, you got to wait for me to say it," Raymond insisted.  "I'm God."
    "All right," I agreed.  And then turning to the imaginary Mr. Jones  I said, "you go through the silver door."
    God and I watched solemnly as he stepped through the door and fell down, down, down into that dark and terrible hole.  I did his screaming for him.  I always liked that part.  I was good at the scream.  Even Raymond admitted that.  
    No sooner had my scream faded away than Mrs. Worms entered our bed room.  Maybe she had heard my scream.  She was our favorite baby sitter. She was old and sort of fat, and didn't wear very pretty clothes.  But she told us great stories about when she was little.  In those days they had lots of tornadoes.  She was always kind to us.  
    "Hi," she said.  "What are you playing."
    Raymond and I looked at each other, trying to figure out what we should say.  We weren't sure what she would think of our game.  
    "God and St Peter,"  Raymond answered finally.
    "Oh?  And how does that game  go?" she asked.  Raymond explained the whole game to her.
    She looked thoughtful for a minute, and then said, "Can I play?"
    We both nodded uncertainly.  "Sure" I said.  Who do you want to be?"  
    "I'll just be me," she said.  "Pretend I just died."
    "O.K.," we agreed.  This was awesome. I mean how many times do you get a chance to send your babysitter to Hell?  
    "O.k.," said Raymond, using his best God voice.  "Were you good are were you bad, Mrs. Worms?"
    "I'm afraid I was bad," she said.  "I tried to be good, but I was bad."
    We were stunned.   We just couldn't make Mrs Worms  walk through the silver door. I mean if it had been Jane Beamon, that skinny faced teen age kid Mom sometimes got for our baby sitter,  we should have jumped at the chance.  Jane never let us play hide and seek outside after dark.  But Mrs. Worms was our friend.
    "But probably you only did little tiny bad things," God suggested.  
    "No, I broke some of your most important commandments," she insisted.
    This was tough.  What were we going to do with a woman who insisted she was very, very bad, but who wanted to be good,  and one who we loved more than almost any other grown-up we knew except for Mom and Dad?  
    "Maybe if she is sorry for what she did we can go a little easy on her," I suggested finally.  
    "Are you sorry for what you have done?" God asked.  
    "Oh yes," she said.  "I am deeply sorry.  I never wanted to be bad."
    God thought about this a while and then said to me, "I think we can let her go through the golden door."
    "What about the bad things I did?" she reminded us.
    Why would she keep on asking embarrassing questions after we had the whole thing worked out?  
    "We'll have some punishments for you up in heaven," God assured her.  
    Neither Raymond nor I felt this really answered all the questions, but it was the best we could come up with at the time.  In any case we were relieved that she seemed to accept this.
    So Mrs. Worms went to heaven.   
    Mrs. Worms was old and that was one of the last times she ever baby sat with us.

 

 

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